I do not know exactly what to call this style of book, but I know it when I read it. Lately, I have been reading a lot of them. This new book trend is a hybrid of the diary book format and a graphic novel, and they are all over the place. It is an updated version of Diary of a Wimpy Kid, and I find the newer versions a little more clever. I do not anticipate any of these books winning a Newbery, but I do catch myself laughing aloud now and then.
How do I know I am reading a journal voice book?
- The book is written in 1st person, and the speaker has a conversational “kid-speak” voice (very casual).
- The main character is usually not a popular kid at school and has social dilemmas.
- Most books have a graphic element to them. They include doodles and cartoon drawings in the margins and/or images that make the page look like a piece of notebook paper. They often have fun fonts.
- The main character is often a reluctant reader or a struggling student in some way.
- There is a lot of white space on the page, and it is easy to finish the book quickly.
- And here is my final little observation. Almost all of the books have a male main character– especially the ones targeted at 3rd+ grade levels.
- The Strange Case of the Origami Yoda (and sequels) by Tom Angleberger
- The Great Hamster Massacre series by Katie Davies
- I Funny: a Middle School Story by James Patterson
- Other Middle School stories by James Patterson
- What the Dog Said by Randi Reisfeld
- Wonkenstein, The Creature From My Closet by Obert Skye**
- Potterwookie, The Creature From My Closet by Obert Skye **
- My Life as a Book by Janet Tashjian
- My Life as a Stunt Boy by Janet Tashjian
- Justin Case School, Drool, and Other Daily Disasters by Rachel Vail
Younger Readers (not past 3rd grade):
- Hailey Twitch series by Lauren Barnholdt
- Dear Dumb Diary series by Jim Benton
- Frankly, Frannie series by A.J. Stern
** My Personal Favorites
For girl leads, there’s the Dork Diaries series and Amelia’s Notebook series. These are probably suited for the older middle grades. My nine-year old loves them! They are perfect for getting her reading again when she’s not in the mood to start a new book.
See– I knew there had to be girl characters out there, but it is clear the authors are catering to reluctant boy readers and assuming a girl will pick up and read the book anyway.